China's Ambassador to Zambia, Yang Youming, has refuted the allegation that China was taking dead bodies, marinating them, putting them in cans and then selling them in African supermarkets. The envoy released a stern statement on Tuesday, seeking to battle misinformation, which he said was harming China's reputation in Africa.
"This is completely a malicious slandering and vilification, which is absolutely unacceptable to us," according to Youming's statement, which was widely reported in Chinese state media.
Chinese state media accused tabloids in Zambia of spreading the rumours, stating that "people with ulterior motives were attempting to destroy the long-standing partnership between Zambia and China." A number of blogs and other publications appeared to have picked up the stories from Facebook.
Some reports quoted people who allegedly worked in Chinese meat factories as saying that the practice had begun because China had run out of space to bury their dead or that Beijing reserved its good, nonhuman meat for more powerful countries.